Committee meetings of the Suffolk County Legislature will be held in Riverside from Sept. 29 to Oct. 2 to tee up proposed legislation for consideration at the next general meeting on Oct. 6.
Highlights include consideration of a measure to amend the County Human Rights Law to include false reporting of a crime based on bias on Wednesday at 10 a.m.; discussion of a proposal to create a task force to address zombie homes on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m., and a presentation on the Long Island tourism industry, also on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m.
A livestream of the committee meetings will be available at www.scnylegislature.us. Resolutions that are approved in committees will be considered by the full legislature at the Oct. 6 general meeting.
Committee meeting schedule, agenda links and more highlights:
Legislators will meet in person for the committee meetings at the Maxine S. Postal Auditorium of the Evans K. Griffing Building, located at 300 Center Drive in Riverside.
However, due to the coronavirus pandemic and by Executive Order of the Governor, the meetings will remain closed to the public and the public portion of committee meetings will continue to be suspended. Interested parties may weigh in on proposed legislation or any topics of concern by submitting comments:
- Over the Phone: Parties can call (631) 853-3685 and leave a three-minute message. Residents should include their name as well as whether they are addressing a particular committee or speaking about a specific resolution.
- By Email: Comments may be submitted in writing by emailing Clerk.Legislature@suffolkcountyny.gov.
- By Regular Mail: Comments may be mailed to the attention of the Clerk’s Office at the Suffolk County Legislature, William H. Rogers Building, 725 Veterans Memorial Highway, Smithtown, NY 11787.
*Please note: Committees that usually meet on Mondays will instead meet on Friday this cycle due to the Jewish holiday.
Tuesday 9/29/2020 – Budget & Finance (9:30am) | Seniors & Human Services (10:30am) | Fire, Rescue and Emergency Medical Services & Preparedness (11:30am)
Wednesday 9/30/2020 – Government Operations, Personnel, Information Technology & Diversity (10:00am) | Education & Labor (11:30am) | Economic Development, Planning & Housing (12:30pm)
Thursday 10/1/2020 – Public Safety (9:30am) | Ways & Means (12:30pm) | Health (2:00pm)
COMMITTEE WEEK HIGHLIGHTS
On Wednesday at 10 a.m., legislators on the Government Operations, Personnel, Information Technology and Diversity Committee will consider a measure to amend the County Human Rights Law to include false reporting of a crime based on bias. Under this local law sponsored by Legislator Jason Richberg, it would be unlawful for individuals to make false criminal allegations to a law enforcement agency due to their own animosity, antipathy or bias based on race, color, gender, religion, national origin, age, ancestry, sexual orientation, disability, handicap or health condition. The Suffolk County Human Rights Commission would be tasked with enforcement and could impose civil penalties. Lawmakers will also consider adding two members to the Suffolk County Fair Housing Task Force – a representative of the Long Island Builders Institute and a representative of Long Island Housing Services – and extending the deadline for the group to complete its final report to Dec. 31.
Also at the Government Operations committee, legislators will discuss two resolutions sponsored by Legislator Bridget Fleming to explore allowing county employees to work remotely and on more flexible schedules.
“Many Suffolk County employees are parents facing tremendous scheduling challenges as they juggle a return to the workplace with a need to be home for children who are attending school remotely,” said Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer Rob Calarco. “Allowing for remote work and more flexible work schedules has the potential to help alleviate the stress of finding childcare and could also increase productivity since employees would gain time that would have been taken up by commuting. At the same time, we would need standards and policy uniformity to protect our taxpayers. I thank Legislator Fleming for getting the ball rolling on exploring the potential for these policies as we look to keep Suffolk County’s COVID-19 infection rate low and be sensitive to the needs of our employees and taxpayers during these challenging times.”
One of these resolutions would make it the policy of Suffolk County that certain job duties can be performed remotely during declared emergencies. Under the new policy, county employees whose essential job functions can be completed without physically being present at the workplace would be able to operate remotely during any declared emergency that applies to Suffolk County, so long as service to taxpayers or the department’s work is not impacted. A second resolution would direct the Suffolk County Department of Human Resources to study the feasibility of implementing flexible work schedules for county employees. The department would create a report examining the costs and/or savings and feasibility associated with implementing of various forms of flexible work schedules, including hybrid remote and in-person work schedules, fully remote work schedules and flexible work hours.
On Wednesday at 12:30 p.m., legislators on the Economic Development, Planning and Housing Committee will hear a presentation from Kristen Jarnagin of Discover Long Island who will share an update on the Long Island tourism industry. Lawmakers will then discuss a proposal by Legislator Rudy Sunderman to create a task force that would work to develop strategies for reducing the number of zombie homes in Suffolk County. Also on the agenda is a resolution to authorize the County Executive to execute a Foreign Trade Zone Operating Agreement with Aiston Fine Art Services for its Islip property.
On Thursday at 9:30 a.m., legislators on the Public Safety Committee will weigh adopting a local law to strengthen Suffolk County’s school bus photo violation monitoring program, through which motorists will be fined for illegally passing stopped buses. Under the proposed law sponsored by Legislator Al Krupski, a portion of funds received through the program would be allocated into a dedicated line in the county budget for traffic safety programs and projects that enhance pedestrian safety near participating schools. The school bus photo violation monitoring program is expected to take effect on Jan. 1, 2021.
Also on Thursday, at 12:30 p.m. the Ways and Means Committee members will weigh a charter law proposed by Legislator Steve Flotteron to divert the share of proceeds currently reserved for the Suffolk County Fair Elections Matching Fund to the General Fund for the 2020 and 2021 fiscal years. Under this proposed law, the first year that funding would be deposited into the fund would be 2022.
Then at 2 p.m. on Thursday, legislators on the Health Committee will hear from Dr. David Fiorella, who will provide an update on Stony Brook Medicine’s deployment of mobile stroke units in Suffolk County. Lawmakers will also discuss Legislator Tom Cilmi’s proposal to prohibit smoking on balconies and patios that are near the external air intake vents of a multiple dwelling unit. Also on the Health Committee agenda is a measure by Legislator Richberg to establish a task force to study the impacts of COVID-19 in Suffolk County. The group would study the various economic, health, housing, social and labor impacts of COVID-19 in Suffolk County and make recommendations to remediate impacts and any identified disparities when confronting future health emergencies. The task force would also review county functions and operations during the COVID-19 pandemic to determine which measures were effective and identify areas for improvement.
On Friday at 10 a.m., legislators on the Environment, Parks and Agriculture Committee will discuss authorizing for open space purposes the acquisition of several properties, including 2.23 acres on the left bank of John’s Neck Creek in Shirley and 20 acres next to 555 Sound Shore Road in Riverhead. Legislators will also discuss authorizing the acquisition of farmland development rights for nearly 50 acres south of Sound Avenue in Riverhead.
Also on Friday, at 2 p.m. legislators on the Public Works, Transportation & Energy Committee will consider executing several sewer district agreements as well as approving proposed increases and improvements to Suffolk County Sewer District No. 6 in Kings Park. Committee members will also consider appropriating $500,000 in sewer infrastructure program funds to Georgica Green Ventures for the project known as Riverhead Apartments, also known as Riverview Lofts, located on 221 East Main Street in the Town of Riverhead. The funds would be provided in connection with the county’s Sewer Infrastructure Pilot Program for inclusive housing. Lawmakers will also weigh funding for planning and design work in connection with making improvements to County Road 83, North Ocean Avenue/Patchogue-Mt. Sinai Road and County Road 79, Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike. Both projects are eligible for an 80-percent reimbursement in federal funding.
Due to the untimely passing of the Public Works, Transportation & Energy Committee’s vice chair, Legislator Tom Muratore, earlier this month, Legislator Fleming will serve as the new vice chair and Legislator Anthony Piccirillo has been added as a committee member.
The following resolutions will be tabled in their respective committees so that public hearings can be held Oct. 6 at 2 p.m. via Zoom:
- establishing an Independent Office of Inspector General for Suffolk County, sponsored by Legislator Rob Trotta, in Government Operations, Personnel, Information Technology & Diversity;
- amending the School Bus Photo Violation Monitoring Program to accurately reflect the adjudication of school bus camera violations, in Public Safety;
- preventing reckless biking in Suffolk County, sponsored by Legislator Sunderman, in Public Safety;
- increasing the legal smoking age to 25 in Suffolk County, sponsored by Legislator Samuel Gonzalez, in Health;
- requiring legislative approval for future contracts involving recreational shooting ranges on County property, sponsored by Legislator Sunderman, in Environment, Parks and Agriculture; and
- amending the Suffolk County Code to expand the definition of “Veteran”, sponsored by Legislator Susan A. Berland, in Veterans and Consumer Protection.
Source: Presiding Officer Rob Calarco press release
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